Foyt Wine Down Party Kicks of IndyCar Weekend at Sonoma

SONOMA, Calif. Aug. 22–The race weekend got off to a festive start as the 5th Annual Foyt Wine Down party was held last evening at Meadowcroft Tasting Room just minutes away from Sonoma Raceway. Friends of Foyt Family Wines along with the AJ Foyt Racing team sponsors and crew members, attended the affair which featured seven different Foyt wines including the No. 61 Pinot Noir, the No. 67 Chardonnay, and the Double Gold winning No. 77 Cabernet Sauvignon.

Guests of ABC Supply and Alfe Heat Treating met winemaker Tom Meadowcroft, racing drivers Takuma Sato and Martin Plowman along with A.J. Foyt.  The guests were also able to sign up to become a member of Club Foyt and receive Foyt wine shipments throughout the year.

Topping off the night, Larry Foyt answered an ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and was doused with ice water but not before he mentioned that Foyt Wines would donate $1,000 to ALSA.org. Foyt then nominated the band Chevelle, A.J. Foyt IV, and to everyone’s surprise, his dad A.J. Foyt. Check out Larry Foyt’s ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.

The jury’s still out as to whether the family patriarch will accept the challenge or simply donate money and avoid the ice water. Either way, ALSA.org will benefit.

Takuma Sato’s Indy 500 helmet raises over $30,000 for ‘With you Japan’

TOKYO June 23, 2014—How much is a helmet worth? In the ‘With you Japan’ online charity auction, Takuma Sato’s 2014 Indianapolis 500 special edition helmet garnered $15,675 when the bidding closed June 9. The helmet, worn by Sato in this year’s race, was signed by Sato and his team owner A.J. Foyt.

"I am very glad that I became the successful bidder for the auction of the Indy 500 Special Helmet. I appreciate this helmet is a symbol of Takuma and his team's wishes and challenging spirit. I am proud to own this helmet and will continue to support Takuma who keeps challenging even in difficult situations,” said the longtime supporter of Sato who lives in Japan. He asked to remain anonymous.

Also choosing to remain anonymous is the donor who matched the winning bid which brought the total donation to the charity to a whopping $31,350!

"I would like to thank everyone who participated in the charity auction,” said Sato. “It is great news that this auction raised a huge amount for "With you Japan”.  A big congratulations to the successful bidder, and I really appreciate all donors who put in extra contributions.  Japan is still struggling from the effects of the tsunami so with your help, we will continue to support children in a way to have some fun activities and encourage their dreams.”

The “With you Japan” program was founded by Sato in 2011 after the March 11 earthquake and ensuing tsunami devastated the island country’s north eastern coast, killing over 15,000 people and leaving over 300,000 people homeless.

All proceeds raised through the program are provided to ‘With You Japan,’ a Charity started by Takuma Sato to provide hope and inspiration to the children of the affected area of Japan.  ‘With You Japan’ hopes to provide inspiration to help thousands of these children as they move forward with their lives. Further information regarding ‘With You Japan’ can be found at withyoujapan.org.

A.J. Foyt on A.J. Watson's Passing

INDIANAPOLIS May 12, 2014--Master mechanic and race car designer and builder extraordinaire A.J. Watson passed away today at age 90. Foyt drove and won with Watson-designed and built  roadsters in the 60s. Eleven of his 67 victories came in either Watson or Watson-Trevis roadsters, including his first two Indy 500s (1961 and 1964). Foyt drove Watson’s sprint car in 1960 winning the USAC Eastern Division Sprint Car championship title that year. Foyt continued to drive Watson’s sprint car off and on through 1968, winning his final race for Watson at Ascot in Gardena, Calif. in 1967.

A.J. Foyt: “I was very good friends with A.J. Watson and his wife Joyce. He picked me up to drive his sprint car years back. We worked right there at his house, took the 220 Offy out and built the Chevrolet. He was a pioneer. He came out against Kurtis and built the Watson roadster and I was lucky enough to win with it.   In his day right here at the Indy 500, there was nobody that was going to beat the three W’s: Watson, Wilke and Ward.

“It’s hard to believe he’s gone. I’m just glad I was able to go see him on his 90th birthday [May 8]. We did talk about old times. He had a picture of me and him with his sprint car on the wall and I teased him, ‘A.J., were we ever that young?’ He said, ‘It’s hard to believe, isn’t it?’”

For Robin Miller's Tribute to Watson, click here: http://racer.com/latest-stories/item/103505-appreciation-a-j-watson-1924-2014.

Respect for Speedway: Plowman Preps for ROP

By Dave Lewandowski

INDIANAPOLIS May 2, 2014--Martin Plowman has competed in the Freedom 100 in 2009 and ’10 and driven the Indy Racing Experience two-seater and Chevrolet Camaro Pace Car on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval.

So the 26-year-old Indianapolis resident has a healthy understanding of the 2.5-mile racetrack, and he has a healthy respect for it as well, which is why he’s looking forward to the Rookie Orientation Program for the 98th Indianapolis 500 Mile Race on May 5.

“I heard Dario (Franchitti) say that when he jumped in the car for the first time during practice that he surprised himself. Even he forgot how quick it was into Turn 1. It’s not something you take lightly,” said Plowman, who will drive the No. 41 ABC Supply car for A.J. Foyt Racing.

Full-season Verizon Indy Car Series drivers Jack Hawksworth (Bryan Herta Autosport) and Mikhail Aleshin (Schmidt Peterson Motorsports) will join Plowman and 2013 Indy Lights champion Sage Karam (Dreyer & Reinbold Kingdom Racing) for the three-phase program required of first-time Indianapolis 500 participants. NASCAR driver Kurt Busch, who completed his refresher course on the oval April 29 in an Andretti Autosport car, also will get in more laps.

Real-time Timing & Scoring of the morning and afternoon sessions is available on www.indycar.com. The track is open for spectator viewing from the South Terrace Grandstand and Turn 2 viewing mounds.

The Speedway opens for full-scale practice May 11, with qualifications May 17-18. The race is May 25.

IndyCar Series Open Test Report – Barber Motorsports Park

LEEDS, Ala. March 18, 2014—Takuma Sato and the ABC Supply team left Barber Motorsports Park satisfied with the two-day IndyCar “Spring Training” Open Test. The No. 14 ABC Supply Honda was fourth quickest of the 22 cars attending.

“It’s been a very productive two days,” said Sato. “We’ve been unlucky in terms of the weather—it was wet in the morning so we didn’t run and the afternoon was cold so that won’t replicate for the race weekend. Nevertheless we did a lot of the test program that we wanted to do and saw how the car reacted. It was very positive performance-wise and for the feedback. It’s been a good preparation and we are ready to go to St. Petersburg.”

With temperatures in the 40s on both mornings, plus rain this morning, weather left teams with less time than originally scheduled. However the ABC Supply team made the most of the time allowed, posting a total of 96 laps around the 2.3-mile scenic course outside of Birmingham. Sato’s best lap time of 1:07.3314 came on lap 25 of the 57 laps he ran today. He improved his lap time from the first day by just over half a second. Yesterday he posted the quickest time for Honda-powered cars—1:07.8619--which was fifth overall.

Team Penske's Will Power topped the charts both days, posting a time of 1:07.0608 today which was six tenths quicker than yesterday’s time of 1:07.6492. Old faces in new places and their respective placings:  Ryan Briscoe/Chip Ganassi Racing (5th), Juan Pablo Montoya/Team Penske (9th), Tony Kanaan/Chip Ganassi Racing (11th), Sebastien Bourdais/KVSH Racing (14th), Sebastian Saavedra/KVAFS Racing (17th), Mike Conway/Ed Carpenter Racing (21st) and Oriol Servia/Rahal-Letterman Racing (22nd).  Rookie Jack Hawksworth/Bryan Herta Autosport was an impressive 12th quickest while Mikhail Aleshin/Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Motorsports was 20th.

The Verizon IndyCar Series opens with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on Sunday, March 30. It will be televised live by ABC-TV starting at 3:30 p.m.

 

Format Changes Enhance Battle To Qualify for Indianapolis 500

Plan Designed To Add Excitement To Qualifying Days Will Debut This May

INDIANAPOLIS (Friday, March 7, 2014) - INDYCAR announced a new qualifying format to set the 33-car starting lineup for the 98th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race.

Qualifying will be enhanced with three sessions of time trials over two eventful days, with the goal of increasing entertainment value, fan attendance and TV viewership for the 2014 qualifying weekend on May 17-18, 2014.

"This new format includes two exciting days of on-track action, all culminating on Sunday with the Fast Nine Shootout," said Mark Miles, CEO, Hulman Motorsports. "Fans get to watch their favorite drivers battle to make the field on Saturday, and then fight for a pole position on Sunday. It will be a great show for fans attending the race and watching the broadcast on ABC."

The format is as follows:

• Saturday, May 17 (11 a.m.-5:50 p.m. ET)

• The fastest 33 cars compose the starting field (but not starting positions).

• All entries are guaranteed at least one four-lap attempt to qualify.

• The fastest nine entries advance to the Fast Nine Shootout.

• Sunday, May 18 (10:15 a.m.-1:30 p.m. ET)

• Saturday times are erased and entries 10-33 must complete another four-lap attempt to determine their starting position in order of the slowest to fastest from Saturday times.

• Fast Nine Shootout, Sunday, May 18 (2-2:45 p.m. ET)

• Each entry will receive one four-lap attempt in the order of the slowest to the fastest from Saturday times. Aggregate times will determine the Verizon P1 Award winner and top three rows.

Martin Plowman Returns to the IndyCar Cockpit at Sebring Test

SEBRING, FL Feb 19, 2014—After a full day of testing the ABC Supply Honda IndyCar, rookie driver Martin Plowman commented,
“It was just like riding a bike.”

In context, Plowman was referring to the comfort level he felt in the cockpit after a two year, five month absence from open wheel racing. “It was a special moment pulling away from the pits for the first time,” the 26-year-old Englishman said. “Before today I was a little bit nervous about getting back up to speed, you have these self-doubts sometimes and they all disappeared by lap one. It was just like riding a bike. By the end of lap eight I was already up to speed and on the pace so it was a great boost of confidence to know that I can just jump in and get straight to work.”

Team owner A.J. Foyt flew in from Houston to meet the rookie and watch him adapt to the Dallara DW12 chassis which Plowman drove for the first time today.

“It was the first time I met Martin and I thought he worked very well today,” said Foyt, who was back at the track for the first time since having his right knee replaced in mid-December. “I thought he ran a fine test for us because we ran a lot of different things on the car and he gave good feedback. I was very happy with the way things went. I think he’ll be a great contender.”

Plowman logged 109 laps around a modified Sebring International Raceway, which is shortened to 1.67 miles for IndyCar testing. Regular No. 14 driver Takuma Sato, who had tested at the track on Monday,  was on hand to help his Indy Double teammate.

“The day went very well I thought,” Plowman said. “You can’t read much into the times here because the track is changing all the time, people are running different fuel loads, or they’re on new tires, where we were focusing on doing a lot of different experiments. We had a couple of very strong runs there at the end on used tires, which gave us confidence. More importantly, we learned a lot of things that we can take with us to my first race at the Indy Grand Prix.”

Plowman will drive the Al-Fe Heat Treating Honda in the inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis on May 10th. He will drive the No. 41 ABC Supply Honda in the Indianapolis 500 on May 25th. Both races will be broadcast live by ABC-TV.

 

Martin Plowman Is Set to Drive the Indy Double

WALLER, Texas Feb. 17, 2014—IndyCar rookie Martin Plowman will do the “Indy Double” this May, thus taking part in the IndyCar Series’ newest race and, two weeks later, its most historic competition at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The 26-year-old Englishman will drive the No. 41 Al-Fe Heat Treating Honda in the Grand Prix of Indianapolis and the No. 41 ABC Supply Honda in the Indianapolis 500 it was announced by the ABC Supply/AJ Foyt Racing team today.

The venture marks the first time that Al-Fe Heat Treating will be the primary sponsor of an Indy Car. The company began as an associate sponsor of the ABC Supply/AJ Foyt Racing team in 2011. The Ft. Wayne, Indiana-based company has continued to build its involvement in the IndyCar Series over the past three seasons; Al-Fe started as an associate sponsor of the No. 41 car in the Indy 500 and became a season long associate sponsor on the No. 14 car in the IndyCar Series.

"We, at Al-Fe Heat Treating, are very excited about being a primary sponsor with AJ Foyt Racing for IndyCar’s inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis in our home state and before our home crowd!” said Kurt Westman, President of Al-Fe Heat Treating.   “Larry [Foyt] and I have discussed this possibility over the last season and we feel this is the perfect venue for us to step-up with the team.

"Being part of bringing Martin back to IndyCar is special and having him run both races at Indianapolis will allow us to build momentum and teamwork going into the ‘500’.  I am looking forward to meeting Martin at this Wednesday’s practice at Sebring," Westman added.

Alfe Heat Treating Makes It Four in a Row!

WALLER, Texas January 29, 2014—Industry leader Alfe Heat Treating returns as a major associate sponsor of the ABC Supply/AJ Foyt Racing team in 2014 marking their fourth straight year with the team.

The Ft. Wayne, Indiana-based company has continued to find ways to leverage its motorsports marketing partnership since its entry into the sport in 2011. “We feel Indy Car is a great way to present Alfe Heat Treating to the public and show our customers we have a solid relationship to the automotive industry, as well as give our employees something to relate to, look forward to, and enjoy away from the work week,” said Kurt Westman, president and founder of one of the nation’s largest heat treating services company.  “Overall the feedback has been positive from both the customer and employee base.”

Ryan Westman, Alfe’s Regional Sales Manager, who administers the motorsports program for the company, seconded that belief, saying, “This is really our employees’ and customers’ team because without their loyalty to Alfe Heat Treating, we wouldn’t be racing on Sunday.”

Beginning as a limited race sponsorship, Alfe’s support has evolved into a season long association with one of the IndyCar Series’ oldest and most storied teams.

“Being part of the Foyt team continues to amaze me,” said Westman, who founded the company in 1979. “They have welcomed us and made us a real part of their racing team as well as Indy Car.  They have proven to be winners in every way!  Every member of the team has continued to represent Alfe Heat Treating in a positive and professional manner.  My thanks to each and every one of them!  It is also very good to hear A.J. is feeling much better and hopefully will be at a few more races this year.”

Legendary Racing Family Is En Route to Legendary Status in Wine!

SONOMA, Calif. January 21, 2014—The Foyt family is known for their legendary status in motorsports. Now they are serving notice to the wine industry!

The Foyt Family Wines 2010 No. 77 Mt. Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon won the Double Gold Medal in the prestigious 2014 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition (SFCWC). It is the second straight year that the eponymous wine won a Double Gold in the “Cabernet Sauvignon $60.00 & Over” category in the world’s largest competition of American wines.

“We were truly honored to win back-to-back Double Golds with our 2009 and 2010 vintages of the No. 77 -- and just a bit surprised -- when the 2014 results were released,” said Larry Foyt, the son of legendary race driver A.J. Foyt.  “We named the No. 77 after my dad’s landmark year when he became the first driver to win the Indianapolis 500 four times in 1977,” said Foyt.

“That career-defining moment garnered him unprecedented international exposure as he was lauded as the world’s best Indy car driver.  For our wine to take Double Gold medals two years in a row makes us feel that we’re following the same path as my dad but in the world of ultra-premium cabernet sauvignon wines,” said Foyt, who started the wine company five years ago with A.J. Foyt IV, grandson of the motorsports icon.

With over 5,800 entries in this year’s world renowned SFCWC, winning the Double Gold medal is a feat in itself. To win it for the second consecutive year is remarkable for the relatively young wine company as many of its competitors have been making wine for decades.

Testing Report: Sebring Int’l Raceway

SEBRING, Fla. Jan. 17, 2014—One day after team owner A.J. Foyt celebrated his 79th birthday, Takuma Sato and the ABC Supply team were at the track testing the Honda Twin-turbo engine in the No. 14 ABC Supply Dallara at Sebring International Raceway.

Driver and team came away from the one-day test satisfied with the progress they had made in checking off a laundry list of test items.

“Our first 2014 season test went really well,” said Sato, who flew in from Japan the day before. “It was chilly but nice and sunny weather with a very calm wind, which means the track conditions were consistent and that gave us a great opportunity to evaluate many things.  We went through a number of the test items and I am very happy to see our progress. We also put a good amount of mileage on the Honda’s new twin-turbo engine which made another good step. So it was a very productive day.”

Team Director Larry Foyt was pleased with the test at which a total of 11 cars representing six different teams were present.

“It was a solid test for the ABC Supply team and a good way to start 2014,” said Foyt. “Our goal was less about all out speed and more about consistency and getting through a list of test items. We found some things that gave Takuma confidence with the car, so I'd say we accomplished the goal of this early test. From the times I was grabbing off my stopwatch, we were in line with all the other cars there, and there were many strong teams present. This definitely helps our confidence going into the next test at Sonoma.”

Sato will be in the States again Feb. 5th for an ABC Supply trade show appearance in Las Vegas. The following week, the team is planning to test at Sonoma Raceway.

The IndyCar Series launches their season Sunday, March 30 in the Streets of St. Petersburg. The race will be broadcast live by ABC-TV starting at 3:30 p.m. ET.